Photos from “2015 Fall – Grand Canyon”


A few pics from a day/night in the Grand Canyon. I was going to stay a second night (even though there’s no signal), but clouds started moving in as I was having my coffee. The snow hit just as I left — I was able to stay in front of it most of the way, until I hit the mountains. I was taking the 89 south, but had to go over and around first — right smack into the storm. ;-)

The drive to Tuweep Outlook was excellent — I took the 5 down from St. George. There was lots of rutted (but dry) muddy roads, a ballsy drive up a rocky cliff side, and lots of scenic views. The drive out to the 89 was flatter and faster, which suited me just fine.

On a personal note, I have to say, the view of the Grand Canyon — standing atop a broken / jutting rock about the Colorado river — was very inspiring. The feeling of expansion took my breath away. It was a remarkable feeling…

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How do I stop?

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I remember last December (2014) — driving back from the coast, no idea where I was going, trying to figure out what to do until I flew down to Costa Rica in January. That similar feeling is back. I’m in Texas, 2 hours from the Mexican border, wondering what the hell I got myself into — all I wanted was to spend the winter lounging by the beach and doing a bit of diving. How did I talk myself into driving down to Costa Rica / Panama for the winter? It seemed like a good idea at the time — a villa and truck rental on some Caribbean island would cost me about $2400/month, which I can’t really afford, so driving down to Limon, Costa Rica for a bit of camping and shore diving seemed like a good idea. Well… After many long days of driving, with very little opportunities to camp and relax, I’m at my wits end. The tires on the truck are wearing fast — my fault for having chosen MTs — they need to be rotated, and the rear diff needs an oil change. The local auto parts store was out of 75W140, which means I’ll have to figure something out in Mexico… Hopefully the weather will be nice tomorrow and I can rotate the tires. Where I’ll spend the night tomorrow, and where I’ll drive into Mexico, is still up in the air. I hate feeling like I don’t have enough time. I like to do things right, and there’s a rhythm to doing that. And of course, I still need to be online in the mornings and evenings. Put all that together, and you get someone pushing their limits — and maybe a bit beyond. Thankfully I had a nice break in NC, staying with friends for a week. It’s been kinda downhill since then though. I really hope to find a nice spot to hang my hammock and relax for a few days eventually… I could sure use it.

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Off with the old, on with the new…


I came back to Montreal two weeks ago to take care of some accounting and maintenance on the Jeep. I’ve had an intermittent problem with random high/low voltage codes on some oxygen sensors (a common problem on Jeeps, apparently), along with some annoying audio switching issues. My theory was either a struggling alternator, tired battery, or bad ground. I changed the alternator for a Mean Green model, but this didn’t help, although I’m sure it’ll be useful to recharge the backup & trailer batteries much quicker. ;-)

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Don’t assume you know…


Several months ago, I read about a relationship game where one partner would summarize what the other had said (their feelings, points of view, etc.), and validate 3 aspects of that summary (start your 3 questions with “Do you mean…”). The idea is to try and get three “yeses” from your partner. It’s actually much more challenging than you might think. :) First, you have to find 3 things to validate, which means you have to try and understand their point of view more than you normally would — we have a tendency to “half listen” because our egos are already projecting what we think the other is saying, and jumping ahead to a conclusion (so we can formulate a reply). :) This game forces us to slow down and really listen to what our partner is saying — and even then, you’d be surprised how wrong your understanding can be. ;-)

I learned of this game too late to help in my last relationship — by the time a relationship is unravelling, your ego is adding so much context to what your partner is saying that it becomes almost impossible to hear or understand what they’re really saying under all those projected layers. You may not want to understand what your partner saying either — that might change the position you’ve defended for months or years, and the game becomes more of  an internal struggle to avoid asking those questions that might actually be helpful. :)

In the future, I hope to use this game as something fun to play with — acknowledge that misunderstanding our partners is unavoidable, and see if each of us can understand what the other is trying to say enough to get three “yeses”. ;-)

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How do you handle seemingly impassable obstacles?


Hanging-out in a hammock is a good place to think sometimes — especially if you’re alone. :) This afternoon I was pondering my reactions and decisions to some difficult situations this past year. I noticed a common behaviour in how I handle problems in general… When confronted with a problem — a really difficult, impassable problem — I’ll tend to give up on it at some point, set it aside and focus on something else. Some time later — weeks or months later — I’ll come back and see if something has changed; maybe the problem isn’t as important anymore, maybe something has changed and it fixed itself, maybe I have a different outlook and now have a solution… This could be a typical “Man Thing”, where we retreat into our “Man Caves” to get away from things for a while and come back refreshed — but I’m fairly certain this is also a learned behaviour. This kind of “obstacle handling” has worked for me successfully ever since I can remember.

The problem with learned behaviours — like anything that becomes a habit — is that you start applying it indiscriminately. Some things, like problems in a relationship, may need a different approach. We may know this, but when push comes to shove — after months (or even years) of trying — we may fallback to our tried and true “obstacle handling” methods. After all, we’ve tried everything else, haven’t we? But relationships are not like other problems — you can’t give up and walk away, and expect things to “fix themselves”. ;-)

Hopefully I’ll remember this when difficult problems arise again in a future relationship(s). :)

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